Self: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Why is this audiobook creating conversation around the world?

Do the things around you bring you joy? Find the secret, and the method behind making it so—listen to  THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP. Narrator Emily Woo Zeller goes Behind the Mic with AudioFile to share one of the unexpected pleasures of having narrated Marie Kondo’s audiobook.

“A wonderful book that affected me personally—I still fold my clothes differently.”—Narrator Emily Woo Zeller

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
by Marie Kondo, read by Emily Woo Zeller
Tantor Media
Earphones Award Winner

Narrator Emily Woo Zeller captures the voice of author Marie Kondo so perfectly that it’s as if the Japanese de-cluttering guru is speaking in person. Discussing the Japanese art of organizing is a fascinating listen and fun to talk about with friends. Listen to a sound clip and read our full review here.

Look for more life-changing magic in our Personal Growth and Contemporary Culture reviews!


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Self: Making Space to Have a Life

Audiobook suggestions from Contributing Editor Tom Walken for finding the joy in less stuff.

If your life is anything like mine, you’ve probably had the experience of spending time in someone’s beautifully neat home and then returning to your own place, which, to make an unfair comparison, looks more like a construction site. I always feel good when I’m prodded for whatever reason to clean and organize my living space. It’s “show work” in psychological terms—an immediate visual reward, but too often not one that becomes part of a sustainable pattern of behavior. For me, throwing things out and properly stowing what I keep is soothing. It creates a lovely physical and mental space that promotes happiness and creative energy. But such good habits are elusive for most of us. It’s easier to do that sort of organizing on impulse than to commit to a routine that provides benefits day after day.

JUNK by Alison Stewart, read by the Author
A travelogue of observations on our overstuffed American homes.

THE JOY OF LESS by Francine Jay, read by Teri Schnaubelt
A collection of intuitive strategies for less stuff.

The Joy Of Less

UNSTUFFED by Ruth Soukup, read by Windy Lanzel
Managing overstuffed lives.


JOY ON DEMAND by Chade-Meng Tan, read by Telly Leung
A conversational guide to inner joy, and an AudioFile Earphones Award winner.

Joy On Demand

THE MORE OF LESS by Joshua Becker, read by the Author
A handbook for getting rid of the stuff that keeps you from pursuing your dreams.

The More Of Less

Many of the audios we highlight here help us accept the reality that clutter is truly the common cold of American life and that dealing with it is not a one-time project. For you, me, and everybody, it’s a mental commitment to minimize what we bring home in the first place and put away the things we already have—every day. Over the hours we allow these audios into our lives, they help us develop that commitment because they grab and hold our attention with the primitive power of the human voice. Combined with the emotional sensibilities and thinking of these authors, the narrators’ performances create the connection we need to be uncomfortable with the status quo and more optimistic about our capacity to do what we say we want to do.

This Learning by Ear has been edited from its original longer form in the print issue of AudioFile Magazine, August/September 2016.

Tom Walken has spent most of his professional life in clinical psychology, primarily as a psychotherapist and now as a management consultant. Reviewing audio programs for more than two decades has exposed him to some great thinkers and helped him become more effective in his work. But the biggest gift has been how listening helps him grow personally, look at himself with calmer eyes, and connect with others with a kinder heart.

September: Listen to Learn

AudioFile is Listening to Learn this month with personal growth, business, and inspirational titles that give us advice and help us improve

We listen and learn in pretty much every month of the year, but this September AudioFile is focusing our recommendations and posts on the personal growth, business, and inspirational titles that give us useful, accessible advice and help us learn.

September always seems like a great month for optimism, and many of the audiobook titles we love reflect the possibilities of personal change and new ideas and perspectives. Here are some AudioFile staff favorites:

From Editor-in-Chief, Robin Whitten: SMALL IS THE NEW BIG by Seth Godin

I’m a big fan of Seth Godin and usually listen to most of his titles. A title that inspired me —10 years ago—to keep plugging away with the magazine is SMALL IS THE NEW BIG.

Small Is The New Big

From Contributing Editor, Priscilla Grant:  QUIET by Susan Cain & YEAR OF YES  by Shonda Rhimes

Are you an introvert? I found inspiration and insight in these two very different listens: Kathe Mazur’s skillful reading of Susan Cain’s QUIET, and Shonda Rimes’s lively telling of her own YEAR OF YES. My conclusion: Love your shy self…and get out there and dance!

Year Of Yes

From Associate Editor, Leslie Dillon: THE ART OF PEOPLE by Dave Kerpen

Dave is approachable, entertaining, and informative in this. I laughed out loud as I listened to it on a flight and even tweeted him about it. He tweeted back, proving his points; truly a new HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE.

The Art Of People

From AudioFile Reviewer, Miriam Kahn:  THE INVISIBLE EMPLOYEE by Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton

I listened to and reviewed THE INVISIBLE EMPLOYEE  years ago, but it stays with me today. The magic words are “Please” and “Thank You.” That’s all it takes, along with positive feedback. I truly learned that the phrase “no news is good news” is the worst way to manage and work with others.

The Invisible Employee

From Publisher, Michele Cobb: EAT THAT FROG by Brian Tracy

As someone who loves to do the “frog” tasks first, I always liked this one.

Eat That Frog

From AudioFile Reviewer, Lance Eaton: SMALL BIG: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence by Steve J. Martin, Noah Goldstein & Robert Cialdini

The authors provide great ideas on how to ethically incite change in people, and they ground their ideas in a variety of research.

The Small Big

From Contributing Editor, Francisca Goldsmith: ON WRITING by Stephen King & HOW TO BAKE PI by Eugenia Cheng

These are two learning audios I hold in esteem.

How To Bake Pi

In addition to a month-long focus on recommendations, we’ll be launching Self: Choices for Mind, Body, and Soul here on the blog. Contributing Editor Thomas Walken’s “Learning By Ear” column has been a mainstay in our print editions for years, and now it will be available to our blog readers as well. Stay tuned tomorrow for “Making Space to Have a Life.”

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Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.